By Christina Xie, editor of AgroPages
Editor’s note: This January, InVivo—the biggest French group of agricultural cooperatives, announced an alliance with Brazilian agrochemical company, CCAB Agro S.A. (know more details here). According to the two companies, this partnership strategically inserts Brazilian growers into a global platform, providing safe access to new products and new technologies, and for InVivo, this collaboration will enhance the company’s presence in the agriculture field, and make it a Brazilian economic player in Brazil.
Recently, AgroPages invited the key people in this deal, Laurent Martel, director of InVivo Agriculture, and Jones Yasuda, chief executive officer of CCAB Agro, to talk in greater detail about their collaboration. This article is the interview with Martel. Interview content for Yasuda could be found here.
Laurent Martel, Director of InVivo Agriculture
Why did InVivo choose CCAB AGRO? What plans does InVivo have for CCAB regarding the orientation and the development of ideas in the future?
CCAB Agro was created by and for the Brazilian cooperatives in order to ensure the farmers quality, secure and competitive off-patent plant protection products supplies. Several elements were crucial in the choice of CCAB AGRO, among which is its “cooperative DNA,” the natural current synergies existing between InVivo and off-patent products and all the synergies that can be developed in the future on every level of the supply chain and advice to farmers.
What is InVivo’s strategic deployment in Brazil and Latin America?
Brazil is an agricultural heavyweight that is and will increasingly be central in addressing global food supply challenges. The development of InVivo Agriculture in Brazil is in line with the strategic plan of the group InVivo called “2025 by InVivo,” which is based on the will to expand InVivo internationally, especially in the key agricultural countries.
Yes, I remember that the ‘2025 by InVivo’ plan mentioned that agro business will be a very important development target for your company. We have seen that InVivo made some deals with other companies these past few years, so is the planning for the agro business space going smoothly right now? We only know about some independent events, such as InVivo acquiring Life Scientific, Syngenta’s Bioline, and working with Valagro on bio-stimulant products. Would you like to talk more about InVivo’s strategic plans for crop protection, bio-solutions and the seeds business? Will your company pursue more activities related to acquisitions or cooperation with other companies in the near future?
Global food production must increase to feed 9 billion people by 2050 in a context of limited arable new land availability, and in a context with increasing of environmental and social concerns and strengthening of regulatory constraints.
Our vision is that the key agricultural challenge of the coming years is to produce more and better.
InVivo is a unique platform based on four high value added verticals: the Digital Farming Market, Biosolutions, Agrochemicals and Seeds Market, to address a fast moving global agriculture industry with innovative solutions.
So we have an ambitious development roadmap, strategy based on four key strategic levers:
• Co-construction: Co-investment and co-governance model, alongside member cooperatives and co-operation, with major leading agricultural inputs companies
• Internationalisation build on the French agricultural know-how and InVivo multi-business strategy
The planning for the agro business space is going smoothly. InVivo will pursue more activities related to acquisitions or cooperation with other companies in the near future.
Last year, AgroPages had reported that InVivo and Chinese company HVH plan to set up a joint venture in Shanghai. What do you think of the Chinese market? Is this JV just a purchasing platform for InVivo or do you plan to further exploit the Chinese market?
China is a very important market that provides a strong perspective of development and striking evolution, either current or to come on an industrial level and also on the issue of quality and quantity of agricultural production and environmental protection. Our joint venture is meant to be active in terms of sourcing, but could also extend its field of activity in the future.
InVivo is one of the largest agriculture companies in France, with 220 European Cooperatives. France is known as a great agricultural country and is also considered a success story for the operation of agricultural cooperatives. Would you like to share with us the operation mechanism of French cooperatives and its advantages and the lessons China could learn from it? Could you please introduce the major distribution ways for agrochemical products in France? What important role does InVivo play in it?
The distribution of phytosanitary products in France, widely and historically integrates counseling actions for farmers, in order to help them optimize their use of such products from an economic and environmental perspective.
Nowadays, InVivo’s network of member cooperatives is a leader in this field as it owns 61 percent of the market share. InVivo’s missions as a major union of agricultural cooperatives is to equip, accompany and work closely with the advisors of cooperatives, whom themselves work with farmers in terms of: acquisition of technical references on technologies and products, decision-support tools, development of smart agriculture, and innovative processes, such as Precision Agriculture.
InVivo is open to contacts with Chinese cooperatives in order to share their mutual experience and discuss collaboration opportunities.